How I Made a Gender Reveal Video Game in Two Weeks!
Merlot’s Tower: A Gender Reveal Game
Hey there, how’s it going guys? It’s your boy, or rather ‘It’s a boy’, Sperdunky /Hayden Howard of Sperdunky Media
My wife and I
Are expecting a child
It’s a boy
We really wanted to do something cool to reveal the gender of our baby to all of our friends and family.
One day Katie was really stressing out about it.
Pulling her hair out, kicking and screaming, crying, blood everywhere. Feces smearing.
She said “Hayden, can you come up with a cool idea for a gender reveal, please!!?!?”
So I came up with a couple of awesome ideas.
We could sky dive and the parachute is blue or pink.
We could rent a hot air balloon and throw colored smoke grenades.
She hated these ideas plus we are poor.
And before you make a joke about the couple who accidentally started a fire with their gender reveal...
“At least you didn’t start a giant Forest Fire hahahahaha”
We heard that one quite a bit.
almost as a joke, I tell her
“Hey What if I made a video game and then set it up in a way where -cybernetic Druid- (one of my online game dev buds) could go into the project and change the results to boy or girl and export a build of the game send it to me and then you could play it and we would find out at the same time. “
She says “that’s an awesome idea!”
and I’m like yeah of course
All of my ideas have been perfectly spot on my entire life.
A day goes by and she thought we settled on that idea I was kind of off doing my own thing
not thinking about it and she was like so you gonna get started on that game and yeah I got started that day, the rest is history.
With almost no planning and just a basic idea in mind
I got to work on a player model
This character is a cartoon version of my wife
I put her in a basic outfit based off of what she would actually wear and added mittens so that I wouldn’t have to animate fingers.
Same goes for limbs, they don’t bend and they’re exactly the same. Hair don’t move either.
So, I have a character model, she can move.
I made a basic test room/ scene and I import some free 3d models off of Unity Store for background scenery.
next, I need an enemy and at this point I already know a basic idea for the enemies.
The premise is this.
Me (shows picture of my player model and cringes) and Katie get the results from the doctors. We head home, BUT THEN we see a mysterious French cuisine and I’m like hey I could eat. So we go there and there’s this French mustached villainous dog named Merlot (the bastard!) who is actually our dog Milo from real life in disguise and he wants to steal the results of the test that has been conducted to find the gender of our baby.
So how does he do it???
He takes command of an army of deadly over sized fleas. The fleas are a deadly bunch and they come color coordinated.
Silver Fleas. The smallest of the bunch, these guys can knock you off of ledges, steal the results out of your hand and if you get taken down they escort you right out of Merlot’s Tower. Or French cuisine if you haven’t made it to the Tower yet (shows footage of Katie playing) oof yikes.
Which is the name of the game.
Gold Fleas. These are the most common of the fleas. The original idea was that it takes two hits from these guys to take you out, but what I was doing wasn’t working, they “ kill” you instantly. Obviously a game where my wife is the main character you can’t really diieee. Like I mentioned before They take you down and escort you out of Merlot’s Tower which is the name of the game.
A Gold flea is also found cooking some colored balls at the French Cuisine.
Ruby Red Fleas, these are supposed to be the unstoppable tank flea, this was my first attempt at using AI and Tracking. What it ended up doing was floating around like a Ghost going through all the platforms which could have worked if I had animated this one differently with new art which showed it crawling on the walls, but I didn’t have time for that, so I just made it charge back and forth at the bottom of the Dungeon Level. And it was too fast and sudden so I put flashing red lights to try and warn the player (my wife) who did not understand this at all. She got pissed and I had to sort of help her past this part while we were recording the gender reveal. Whoops.
Also full disclosure this game actually took 4 weeks to make and here’s why.
At the time of working on this game.
I only had two days off a week and I worked a live- in shift as a caregiver meaning I went to work Sunday night and didn’t come home until Wednesday morning and I would spend that morning with my wife until I had to go to work at my second job which that shift only gave me a couple hours after I got home. So I worked on the game when I could, but I ended up not having as much time as I thought I was going to have, and that’s okay.
So this is the first game I’ve ever actually “completed”. I’m sure game devs out there understand what I mean when I say; that doesn’t mean I haven’t worked on other games before I’ve been hardcore playing around in unity for three - four years now as a hobbyist with the intention that I would eventually complete something.
For this particular project I followed a Udemy course .
This helped me get the basics going, but it really wasn’t as in depth as I was anticipating and that’s okay. I hadn’t touched that course in a while and it turned out that the 2d platformer unit was the last project I needed to finished so I officially got my certificate of completion as well. Thumbs up👍🏻 . Very Cool.
In the project itself, organization was not my strong suit. I used a folder of scenes as sort of a timeline for myself. I created and named all of the scenes within Unity that I wanted to make based off of a rough script that I had put together on my phone.
I knew that some of these I could cut out and the game would still make sense and that’s all that I wanted by the end of it. A complete story with a clear conflict and resolution. Merlot steals the results you chase after him, you climb the tower you catch him and then we find out the results.
Yippee it’s a boy . We made it through Merlot’s Tower which is the name of the game and we burned the Flea queen, essentially eliminating the flea threat and taking away Merlot’s power. Be careful!
So is this the most well polished game and does it have super advanced mechanics or even consistent mechanics? No, it definitely does not. But here is what I learned:
Planning is really important.
Research is really important.
I found out after I was almost done with the project that Thomas Brush (a prominent indie game dev on youtube) has a free starter pack for making 2d platform games I could have saved a lot of time by starting with this pack. I played with it after releasing the video of my gender reveal and I could have kept a lot more in the game that I wanted while having it be much more playable if I had started with this pack. The best part is that I had downloaded this pack about a month before I started the project, but I never opened it because I didn’t really realize what it was.
So if you’re doing a project like this maybe look into what’s out there for you.
I saved time with building the environment with 3D objects that I had gotten from the asset store and only making the characters from scratch and a few miscellaneous items like the French cuisine sign.
This is the first game I created and it kind of sucks, but I’m proud to show off that I’ve actually created a playable project and the fact that it ties in with my first son is a plus. I am now currently in the process of making my next game, one that will be a lot smoother and fully produced and developed by me Sperdunky, music will be produced by an independent musician named ShadowBuddy and The game will be coded and organized by Cybernetic Druid. Look out for North Forest Games which is the studio we just created at the end of 2020. We will be launching our website at some point perhaps with the release of our first game.
Also, I will still be working on solo projects on the side as I’m learning more about development.
Get oughta here, Sperdunky!